Monday, March 27, 2006

The Metro is evil and must be stopped

Beware all non-residents of our great nation’s capital. It’s a proper old Big Smoke-oriented rant…

Papers.

(I realise this is starting like one of those Eddie Izzard routines where he goes “moths” or “sandwiches” and launches into a long, surreal, occasionally funny, diatribe on the subject, not failing to include some esoteric meanderings into the issues of bantam hens and Ringo Starr’s jelly mould. But bear with me, dear reader. I do not dress in women’s clothes (Izzard is a pretty fucking rough trannie isn’t he? It’d be OK if he looked like a Thai ladyboy as opposed to a portly scary aunt with a face like a crack-addicted tomcat) and I have a definite point to make.)

Papers. They’re bloody EVERYWHERE. Littering all public transport. Every tube carriage, every bus, flooded with discarded newspapers. They’re like the red weed in War of the Worlds, except the wrong colour and covered in newsprint. And not from Mars.

OK, they’re not like the red weed in War of the Worlds. Bugger.

But they are everywhere. It’s become the new socially permissible form of littering for the otherwise guilt-wracked middle classes. I blame the Metro. For those of you out in the Shires, the Metro is the free morning London newspaper spewed out by Associated Newspapers. Every morning Tube stations are stacked with the things and those too tight or intellectually bereft to read a proper newspaper pick them up to glean some lame rehashing of the news.

And then, because they’re free and have no value beyond that one quick read, the commuters of London abandon them. Tube trains are smothered in them. Generally they’re folded and placed over air vents behind the seats, so we can all die of heat exhaustion and the smell of farts.

This could be interpreted as a form of knowledge-sharing – like those schemes where people finish a book and then leave it somewhere public for someone else to enjoy. Except everyone who wants to read the Metro has already picked up their freebie, so our tube trains become transporters of vast amounts of substandard journalism. You’d hope they now terminate at paper recycling facilities, but know that, in fact, they’re cleared out by unfortunate minimum wage functionaries and added to our nation’s burgeoning landfill.

London Underground has a deal with Associated over the distribution of the Metro on the tube. You’d hope it includes the extra man-hours spent by London Underground workers removing copies of the Metro from ticket barriers and platform seating. Again it’s inevitable this wasn’t ever factored into the agreement. What did they think? That Londoners would take the fucking things home and recycle them? It’s not as if Londoners are the filthiest, least civic-minded, people on Earth is it?

Now, because the Metro opened up the way, all newspapers are discarded in a similar fashion. I don’t think this is as anti-social as the other London littering favourite – leaving your chewed ‘Dixie/Cottage/Alabama’ chicken bone and sinew detritus to rot decorously at the bus shelter – but is it really that far off?

1 comment:

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